Saturday, April 21, 2007

Clippings: Australia wreck New Zealand

From Daily Telegraph, Australia
AUSTRALIA on Friday crushed New Zealand with a thumping 215-run victory in the cricket World Cup super eights with century scoring Matthew Hayden man of match.
While World Cup rivals are playing mind games around them, Australia are striving to squeeze the life out of any opposition they can find. Australian captain Ricky Ponting is confident their philosophy gives them a great chance to claim a record third consecutive World Cup title, whatever New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming says.
The Black Caps rested opening bowler Shane Bond (upset stomach) and all-rounder Jacob Oram (bruised heel) today as Australia scored a ninth win from nine outings in the Caribbean tournament, thrashing their fellow semi-finalists by 215 runs in their Super Eights clash.
Man-of-the-match Matthew Hayden blasted 103 from 100 balls, a record-equalling third hundred in a single World Cup tournament, in Australia's 6-348. Spinner Brad Hogg (4-29) and paceman Shaun Tait (3-32) combined to bowl Fleming's side out for just 133 in 25.5 overs.Australia scored the biggest win in World Cup history in matches between Test-playing nations.
The Grenada victory came just four days after another semi-final team Sri Lanka also fielded a depleted line-up, resting their three top bowlers including Muttiah Muralitharan and losing to Australia by seven wickets.Sri Lanka and New Zealand have both finished on 10 points and will meet in Tuesday's semi-final in Jamaica while Australia (14pts) take on arch rivals South Africa in St Lucia on Wednesday.
Fleming was adamant today his side could bounce back for the semi-final and the final, stating Australia would be vulnerable if they had an off day or even one bad 10-over period.``With nothing being on this game, it took a little bit of edge off us,'' Fleming said.
``It was probably one of our worst performances.``We've had one eye on the game against Sri Lanka.''Asked about the benefit to Australia of winning today then possibly meeting the Kiwis eight days later in the Barbados final, Fleming said: ``No. None. I can confidently say that.''
Ponting, however, was having none of it and was clearly angry at Fleming's attempt to downplay the significance of today's win.``I'd rather be in our room than theirs,'' Ponting said.``They'll be having all sorts of meetings over the next few days to talk about today's game. We'll be having a beer tonight.``If they don't think that's going to affect them at all, then how is any psychological edge ever gained in any game of cricket?``If we don't take something out of today's game, then no one ever can. We've just beaten New Zealand by 215 runs in a World Cup game, so they've got a lot of thinking to do.'
'Fleming said Australia had the most talented side but that wasn't enough to win a World Cup.``We beat Australia recently. If there's a bit of bounce and seam movement and it goes our way then pressure can be created,'' he said. ``The pressure of expectation can also be very high.``Australia are playing great cricket but I guess they are playing such good cricket, are they going to have a bad day?''
Hayden, who has already won one World Cup in 2003, warned Australia's rivals that their best was yet to come.``It all comes down to the next two games. All that we have achieved until now means if we can't go all the way,'' he said. ``More than anything, I think the side loves big games and big occasions.''Ponting made 66 today and Shane Watson smashed 65 not out from 32 balls after missing three games with a calf-muscle strain.Hayden, who is the tournament's leading runscorer with 580 at 108, joined Australian Mark Waugh and India's Saurav Ganguly as the only players with three centuries in a single World Cup tournament.
The Queenslander's 10th one-day international century included 10 fours and two sixes and followed his 101 against South Africa and 158 against West Indies.It is Hayden's fifth century in 21 innings since being dumped for the Champions Trophy in October.Hayden, 35, only came back into the side for the tri-series against England and New Zealand in January because of Watson's hamstring injury.
Ponting and Hayden added 137 for the second wicket to set up the big total, with Watson doing the rest late in the innings after good contributions in the middle order from Mike Hussey (37) and the consistent Michael Clarke (49).Australia have won 21 consecutive World Cup games since their 1999 semi-final tie against South Africa.``We haven't talked about this consecutive run of games. We are just talking about winning each game as it comes along,'' Ponting said.

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